Facilities management leaders, listen up: Why sustainability matters to FM

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As the “circular economy” concept takes hold, facility managers are increasingly called to incorporate sustainability measures as part of the facilities management (FM) delivery. Below, JLL’s Maureen Ehrenberg discusses why sustainability matters to the FM profession. For more on this topic, check out Maureen’s column in the July/August issue of FMJ magazine.

It’s no secret that economic development and environmental degradation have historically gone hand-in-hand. The good news? In response to the “take, make, dispose” approach of the past, a new “circular” economy is emerging, rooted in the “cradle-to-cradle” concept of regenerative, restorative design that minimizes environmental impact throughout the product lifecycle.

FM sustainabilitySustainability has also rapidly risen up the corporate agenda in recent years – providing facility managers with an important opportunity to demonstrate leadership, inform and advise the business  and create value to the business and the community in this space.

In many ways, FM professionals are at the forefront of this charge to achieve long-term sustainability in the built environment. Today’s facility managers – regardless of whether they work in industrial complexes, traditional office spaces, or even healthcare facilities – have more tools than ever before to deliver sustainable building operations and reduce the environmental impact of their facilities and their respective supply chain.

Consider the following as you strive to make facility management practices and processes more sustainable:

  • Choose sustainable products and materials when sourcing supplies for your facility. Whether incorporating the most innovative sustainable cleaning products into your janitorial regimen or procuring recycled materials for an upcoming build-out, opportunities abound to make more sustainable choices in the marketplace.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of technology. From utilizing sophisticated data and analytics platforms to pinpoint unnecessary waste streams to integrating smart technology solutions that offer you real-time control of your building systems, opportunities to leverage technology to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact abound.
  • Explore your options for sustainability certifications. Building certifications like LEED, Green Globes, BREEAM, ENERGY STAR®, and others not only attest to the sustainability of your facilities – they also signal your business’ commitment to sustainability to the marketplace. Selecting the right sustainability certification for your facility and your business can be tricky, though, so make sure to do your research and consult experts where needed.

As sustainability gains increasing importance with businesses and corporations, occupiers, investors, and government, FM professionals have the opportunity to influence and help to lead the charge for sustainability in the built environment. Interested in learning more about how facility managers can bring the built environment into the circular economy? Read my column in the July/August 2016 issue of FMJ magazine.

For more sustainability thought leadership from JLL, follow JLL Sustainability on LinkedIn.

Maureen Ehrenberg is JLL’s International Director for Global Integrated Facilities Management, where she is responsible for driving the strategic direction and growth of JLL’s global facility management business. With more than 25 years of experience, Ehrenberg has deep expertise in providing real estate advice and ser­vices to companies around the world and is an internationally-recognized expert in the facility management field. Ehrenberg is Chairman of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and a board member of the Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate (OSCRE).

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